Ninja hand signs and kuji-in seals

Learn any one of the nine ninja hand signs and you will become a powerful weapon. Photo by Joey Gannon,

Stealth, guile, cunning and death; this is the way of the ninja. Bound by codes and forged in the ancient traditions of the East, the ninja warrior has adopted and perfected techniques from the far distant past, honing them for his own particular needs.

The nine Kuji-in ninja hand signs are certainly no exception. Developed by Taoist and Buddhist practitioners, these potent gestures now serve far darker masters. The ninja hand signs of the Kuji-in form the power core of the deadly shinobi warrior.

Ninja Rin – The Diamond Thunderbolt

The seal of the diamond thunderbolt inspires both physical and mental strength. It is a pre-action hand sign, channeling power throughout the body in preparation for combat. The buildup of Rin energy often causes a release of bodily gases, a side effect known as “The Stench of Death” within the ninja community.

Rin ninja hand signs
Pyo ninja hand signs

Ninja Pyō – The Great Thunderbolt

Pyō, or the seal of the great thunderbolt, enables a ninja to direct his energy. When fully charged, the ninja can quite easily crush a child’s skull with one hand or rip the beating heart from an adult panda. The seal of Pyō is a particularly complex one. Trainee ninjas have been beheaded in battle while trying to figure out the correct finger position.

Ninja Tō – The Outer Lion

Despite being seen by many ninjas as “a bit gay”, Tō is nonetheless a powerful symbol. The seal of the outer lion helps a ninja to achieve a sense of harmony. At a meditative level, this sense of harmony is calming, connecting man with his environment. Hardcore ninjas push Tō to logical extremes. Total harmony with the universe reveals the insignificance of all life, turning the ninja into a completely cold, perfectly harmonized killer.

To ninja hand signs
Sha ninja seal

Ninja Sha – The Inner Lion

Even ninjas suffer occasional cuts and bruises. The gesture of Sha promotes the healing of both the self and others, a bit like having Dr. House as a spirit guide.

Ninja Kai – The Outer Bonds

Kai enhances a ninja’s premonition of danger. This enhanced sensory awareness also gives an insight into the general emotional state of others, making ninjas highly effective card players. A 2001 study by the Institute of Martial Arts and Brawling found that 38 percent of a ninja’s yearly income comes from poker tournaments (not online). Many casinos have since implemented restrictions that limit ninjas to slot machines and roulette.

Kuji kai ninja hand seal
Jin ninja hand signs

Ninja Jin – The Inner Bonds

Jin allows a ninja to hear the thoughts of others, much like Mel Gibson in What Women Want. The seal of the inner bonds also shields a ninja’s thoughts from others. Jin is a high-level ability, and a potentially dangerous one. If performed incorrectly, the ninja will shield his own thoughts from himself, plunging him into a vegetative state from which there is no escape. Senior ninjas jokingly call this “Fuckuji-in Up”.

Ninja Retsu – The Wisdom Fist

Retsu is the seal of the wisdom fist, also known as Chiken-in (not to be confused with the Chicken Inn in Chicago, known for its excellent chicken and courteous service). The implications of this particular Kuji-in are profound. In theory, Retsu gives a ninja control over time and space. However, a May 2007 survey found that 9 out of 10 ninjas believed that controlling space-time, while cool in theory, was really “a load of glorified, mystical bullshit”.

Retsu ninja hand signs
Zai ninja hand seals

Ninja Zai – The Ring of the Sun

The seal of the ring of the sun gives a ninja limited elemental control. By connecting the ninja with nature, Zai allows the warrior to use the sky, the river and other natural elements in battle. At the lowest level of control, a ninja can influence poultry and rodents, forcing them into frenzied attacks against enemy warriors and strongholds. The mightiest ninjas are able to control larger beasts such as yaks, camels and elephants. On January 16, 1999, shinobi master Yamashiro Toshtoshitora controlled rock legend Meat Loaf for a full 16 minutes during the filming of Fight Club.

Ninja Zen – The Hidden Form

Zen offers far more than the self-exploration and enlightenment typically sought by aging hippies and cross-legged, yoga obsessed MILFs. For the ninja, the seal of the hidden form offers the ultimate stealth weapon: invisibility. In the entire history of ninjutsu, only eight ninjas have ever been credited with full invisibility. Of those eight, six were never seen again. Witnesses saw the two remaining ninjas vanish and reappear during the legendary sake binge of 1333. Records taken during the 49-hour event also list 68 deaths, 16 marriages, 11 pregnancies, and the appearance of 4 levitating rabbits, an eight-armed giant and a laughing wall of fire.

Kuji-in zen ninja invisibility hand sign

The Nine Ninja Seals: Ninja Hand Signs in Use

Are you a ninja? Do you aspire to become a ninja?

If you perfect any of the nine ninja hand signs, you shall gain much power. Please share your experiences — your journey to mastery — with those who would dream to learn the ways of the dark shinobi.

In the meantime, buy a set of ninja throwing knives or some ninja hand claws to help you on your way.